Wednesday, 1 February 2017
Critical Week: Don't throw in the towel
dir-scr Morgan Jon Fox
with Jordan Nichols, Seth Daniel Rabinowitz, Jacob Rickert, Leah Beth Bolton, Ryan Masson, Chase Brother
16/US Dekkoo 1h56 ***
There's an artistic sensibility to this web series that makes it worth a look, as creator Morgan Jon Fox uses swirling photography and non-linear editing to follow the emotional lives of his characters rather than create coherent plotlines. The problem is that this leaves everything feeling a bit thin and wispy, as events and characters are undefined even though they are going through some big emotions. The premise centres on two young artists in Memphis: Billy (Nichols) has an inexpressive boyfriend (Masson) with depression issues, while Daniel (Rabinowitz) wants to run off to the big city. They get a new housemate (Rickert) and have some personal crises, but while a lot happens to them, the filmmaking approach is so loose and mopey that there isn't much proper emotional impact. Frankly, the title of this series is a mystery. The relationships are written, never quite lived-in or believable, and only vaguely sexy. And some of the writing and acting isn't terribly convincing. But it looks great, the cast is likeable and the idea is clever enough to sustain itself through eight brief episodes.
Films coming up this week include The Lego Batman Movie and the acclaimed British drama Lady Macbeth. I'm also getting ready for a trip to Los Angeles to visit my family and friends - I'll be there for both Bafta and Oscar, as it happens. Watch this space...